|Let's talk - By Vincent Gono|
|Saturday, 14 July 2012 21:03|
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Election observers: Are they players, referees or sympathisers?
AN election is unarguably a basic tenet of democracy.In fact, an election and how it is conducted defines the levels of democracy in a given society. Simply put, it is the process of freely choosing a leader from among a given group of candidates or parties in a democratic society.
For that process to be recognised as free and fair the electorate should be allowed to exercise their right in an environment free of coercion, all forms of violence, intimidation and harassment. In Zimbabwe, however, the talk of an election arouses the 2008 war-like gory images of violence where politicians toy-toyed with their supporters forgetting that violence in any election corrupts the concept of democracy as the process ceases to be free and fair.
This week Let’s Talk tries to examine the feasibility of the country’s ability to hold a free and fair election as well as finding out who, if any, is qualified to endorse the election process as free and fair without taking a political side.
This brings to the fore the question of organisations and individuals called election observers, which for one reason or another were in previous elections seen gallivanting in merrymaking feasts with the two MDC formations even before the results were announced, whether they are really independent or are fronts of certain political parties.
Suffice to say, the previous elections in Zimbabwe which brought about the Global Political Agreement (GPA) were marred by political violence that the MDC with all claims of being democratic unashamedly took responsibility of.
It, therefore, came as a surprise to many that the MDC-T having admitted to being a stooge of the West and having publicly pleaded guilty to a sordid history of violence, contends that the election result was tilted in favour of Zanu-PF. It remains to be seen whether Zanu-PF with all the revolutionary credentials had always been winning elections through hook and crook or it is just popular and getting in the race with lame ducks who after falling by the wayside claim that they were robbed and that they had leg irons when they entered the race.
That Zanu-Pf derives its popularity from its clear and sound policies meant to promote black economic empowerment is a fact that even those in the MDCs for Western donor money are quick to accept.
Politicians and political parties in the country seem to differ on the issue with some saying there is a need to invite election observers to oversee the process and give an independent assessment of how it was conducted while others claim that although observers were good they could only be invited when they cease to be active players fronting certain political parties in the election process.
They say the previous scenario where observers became part of a team in the match was not comfortable arguing that it was difficult for a player to compile an objective and non-biased match report.
They accuse election observers of causing alarm and despondency by predicting, and predetermining the election results proclaiming certain political parties as winners thereby causing discontent and political unrest when the results show otherwise.
They further submitted that the observers should be given strict operating guidelines and should not be allowed to continue if they operate outside those set and agreed parameters.
Zanu-PF deputy spokesman, who is the Governor and resident Minister for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Ambassodor Cain Mathema said there was no need for the country to invite foreign election observers or monitors as this gives the impression that Zimbabweans were still politically immature to do their own things without the intervention of the West.
He said election observers were simply MDC sympathisers and Western spy organisations trying to secretly carry forward an illegal regime change agenda.
“Zimbabwe does not need election observers. We can not simply have them because Britain and America the countries that imposed sanctions on the country and who are responsible for the massive decline of our econmy say we should have them. We do not need them. It gives the impression that there is someone above Zimbabwe yet we are a sovereign and independenmt state. Where do the observers report to after observing?
“They are simply sympathisers and fronts of the MDC’s illegal regime change agenda. We are not children in an examination room who need an invigilator. We have been independent for 30 years and we are mature to oversee our own election process. Why should they want to intervene in the way we run our affairs,’’ he said.
Ambassador Mathema said the twin terrible forces of America and Britain still wanted to maintain their stranglehold on the country using the MDC formations.
He said the call by the two MDCs for Western election observers was an effort to protect their supper and exalt their loyalty to their masters.
MDC-T provincial spokesman for Harare who is also Justice and Legal Affairs Deputy Minister, Mr Obert Gutu, said the country needed election observers that would oversee the conducting of the elections.